, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 144-162
Date: 13 Jan 2012

Family Factors in the Development, Treatment, and Prevention of Childhood Anxiety Disorders

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Abstract

It is now widely accepted that anxiety disorders run in families, and current etiological models have proposed both genetic and environmental pathways to anxiety development. In this paper, the familial role in the development, treatment, and prevention of anxiety disorders in children is reviewed. We focus on three anxiety disorders in youth, namely, generalized, separation, and social anxiety as they often co-occur both at the symptom and disorder level and respond to similar treatments. We begin by presenting an overview of a broad range of family factors associated with anxiety disorders. Findings from these studies have informed intervention and prevention strategies that are discussed next. Throughout the paper we shed light on the challenges that plague this research and look toward the future by proposing directions for much needed study and discussing factors that may improve clinical practice and outcomes for affected youth and their families.